Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, the Flyers' fourth-line center who is one of the few France-born players to ever reach the NHL, became emotional as he talked about being named an alternate captain Thursday.
"Obviously, I'm proud," he said. "Super happy to be able to represent the team this way and to be able to help the guys more in the locker room."
"Belly," coach Dave Hakstol said, "embodies all the characteristics and traits of a Flyer."
Bellemare replaced Mark Streit, who was traded Wednesday to Tampa Bay (and then Pittsburgh) as an alternate captain. He and Wayne Simmonds are the alternates, while Claude Giroux is the captain.
"He deserved it," goalie Michal Neuvirth said. "He's an awesome guy, great leader in the locker room, and, for sure, he's the hardest-working guy in the locker room."
It's been a whirlwind year for Bellemare. He got married in the summer, received a two-year contract extension Wednesday, and was named one of the Flyers' alternate captains Thursday.
Asked whether the extension or getting the "A" made him more proud, Bellemare became teary-eyed.
"Obviously, to be able to represent the team two more years is unbelievable," he said. "But then to be able to have the 'A,' I mean, I'm a French guy coming into the league really late. I didn't expect to stay that long. I'm just trying to do my way and work for the team, and suddenly, a lot of things happened in a week. My mom is here, so there is no better timing really."
Bellemare, who will turn 32 Monday, said his mother was going to "snap" with joy when she learned he would wear the "A."
As for the deeply respected Streit, Bellemare said, "It's going to be really tough to replace that kind of voice in the locker room and that kind of person in the locker room. . . . I had this role before and am really proud to be able to challenge myself to be better for the team."
Bellemare served in a leadership role with the French national team and when he played in Sweden.